The two-time Olympic gold and seven-time WNBA all-star for the Phoenix Mercury were detained when he arrived at Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow on February 17. Greiner, who plays for Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason, is accused of possessing vapor cartridges containing hashish oil, which is illegal in Russia.
Since then, Greener’s family and State Department officials have been working behind the scenes to secure her release, and the Biden administration recently described her condition as “illegal detention.” Publicly, the WNBA sent a message placing decals with its initials and No. 42 on the floor of its teams.
“Such things matter, as she hopes,” Cherelle Griner told GMA presenter Robin Roberts. “He tells her he has not been forgotten. “These little moments, I know, give her some hope.”
Cherelle Griner said she first learned of the situation when Brittney texted her when she arrived in Russia, saying: “Baby, baby, wake up. They have me in this room. “I do not know what is happening,” said Cherelle. I immediately sent a message, “Who are” they “and which room?”
At that point, Brittney’s phone was taken away and the two were able to communicate “sporadically,” Cherelle said, adding: “I’m grateful for that, too.”
Cherelle said she had contact with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “I was grateful for the call,” he said. “You say it’s the first priority, but I want to see it. I feel that I will see that I would see BG on American soil.
“At this point, I do not even know who I will take back when he returns.”
Former United Nations Ambassador Bill Richardson, who has worked privately as a hostage negotiator and taken over Greiner’s case, said in a recent appearance on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” that he was “optimistic” that Greiner would return. USA “will happen soon”. . »
Meanwhile, Serel hopes to speak with President Biden. “It simply came to our notice then. it is a political pawn. “
A recent law school graduate, Cherelle pointed out that Griner, like many other WNBA players, has to go abroad out of season to supplement her salary. Griner earns $ 227,900 playing for Mercury and, Cherelle said, had a positive experience playing in Russia.
“You know you are a GOAT when you can really play in Russia for the team that BG plays,” he said. “They treat them like superstars.”
However, the WNBA payout, compared to other sports leagues, is a problem. “BG would wholeheartedly want to not go abroad,” Cherelle said. “He has only had one Thanksgiving in the United States in the nine years he has been a professional. “She’s missing all these things just because she can’t make enough money in the WNBA to make a living.”
Greiner last appeared in a Russian court on May 13 in a scheduled hearing to which another 30 days were added to her pre-trial detention. Earlier in the day, Russia’s state news agency reported that US and Russian authorities were discussing an exchange of prisoners between Greener and convicted arms smuggler Victor Booth. The development came 10 days after the Biden government formally reclassified Greiner’s arrest, in a message that US officials would step up efforts to secure her release instead of waiting for the Russian legal system to work.
Greiner, 31, appeared at the hearing wearing an orange WNBA hood that largely hid her face. Her lawyer, Alexander Boykov, said in a video She was quoted in the Associated Press as saying that the relatively short extension of her detention could send a signal that her case will be heard soon.
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In a statement to the Washington Post on May 13, a State Department spokesman said representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow had attended Greener’s hearing and were able to speak with her, echoing a March statement saying “she does as as can be expected under these circumstances “.
“We believe that we can better and more effectively achieve potentially successful results if we have room to have private conversations. We are closely associated with this case and in frequent contact with Ms. Griner’s legal team. “
Greiner’s case has received renewed attention following the release of veteran US Marine Trevor Reed from Russia in a prisoner exchange last month. Former Marine Paul Whelan has been detained in Russia since 2018. Cherelle Griner said she had contacted both men’s families and was asked to overcome her reluctance to talk about the situation, adding that “obviously [wants Whelan] back too. “
In the first week after Greiner was detained, Serell said, “She lay down on this couch and cried my eyes out. I was numb. I could not move. “
“Every day it is important for me to be healthy, to be alert, to be careful to make sure he comes back, but it is difficult,” he said. “It’s hard.”